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Back to life: How has the coronavirus crisis changed our buying behaviour?

  rauwm_ (Blogger_Bazaar)
Even before the coronavirus crisis, there was a longing for a paradigm change in the fashion industry. Too many collections and excessively fast trend cycles not only led to the feeling that the entire sector was on the brink of a burnout, but, first and foremost, to far too much waste and a high energy consumption. As the world’s third biggest polluter, the fashion industry is facing huge criticism – and rightly so. Increasing numbers of consumers are demanding more transparency regarding production processes, materials and supply chains.

The year 2020 will certainly be remembered as one full of uncertainty. Faced with the invisible danger of a virus, we have retreated into the safety of our homes. This has been accompanied by a renaissance of conservative values: our own four walls as a refuge from the big, bad world outside. Suddenly, our Instagram feeds were full of photos of people baking, cooking, gardening, knitting and even the good, old book club was brought back to life in digital form. We used banana bread and DIY jewellery to counteract the boredom that set in – and also to make up for the dizzyingly fast pace of life, “always online” mentality and pressure to perform that came before it.

Suddenly we found ourselves spending a lot of time in solitude with our own possessions. So what better time to pause and take stock of our own behaviour and attitude to fashion? Many people within my circle of friends told me that they felt overwhelmed by their own OTT materialism and used the lockdown time to declutter, organise and repair what they already own. This was a time to get back to basics and focus on what really matters – a time for clarity and order to compensate for the political and economic chaos going on around us. The trend towards responsible and conscious consumption has been evolving for a few years now: minimalism meets favourite pieces. Instead of following fast-fashion trends with a fast-approaching expiry date, a capsule wardrobe of timeless and seasonless, high-quality pieces is becoming the new ideal.

Instead of cheaply produced fast fashion items, we are turning to high-quality materials and classic designs. The megatrend for natural materials is not only making itself felt in our wardrobes in the form of linen trousers and organic cotton, but also apparent in our newfound interior love for raffia and bamboo.

If you have developed an awareness of sustainability but aren’t exactly in a financial position to invest in design classics, then second-hand and vintage fashion are good options. The global second-hand market is currently worth around 28 billion dollars; by the year 2023 it is set to grow to a whopping 51 billion dollars. If the predictions for the next ten years are to be believed, the second-hand market will overtake the retail market: the former is estimated to reach 64 billion and the latter just 44 billion dollars by 2030.

Exciting store concepts like that of LNFA at Bikini Berlin, which sell vintage fashion alongside pieces by local designers, are becoming more and more attractive to consumers.

Although many people are experiencing, or at least fearing, financial losses due to the coronavirus crisis – and therefore focusing more on essential items and long-term investments – there is still a need to be inspired. The McKinsey Global Fashion Survey predicts that the global fashion market will see only a slightly slower growth from 4.5% in 2019 to 3.5% in 2020. With many entertainment activities either being cancelled or banned, everyday fashion was one of the few sources of inspiration and mood boosters we had left. For specific consumer groups, fashion is a way of expressing one’s individuality, something that is becoming particularly important in the crisis and has helped us to continue feeling good about ourselves, despite everything happening in the world outside. Those who can afford it will carry on shopping, but where and what?

For 2020, the McKinsey Global Fashion Survey 2020 has identified keywords like “Sustainability First”, “In the Neighbourhood” and “Next Gen Social” as the year’s most important shifts in values.
Although online retail profited from the temporary store closures of the weeks that followed, we all still prefer to shop in bricks-and-mortar stores. 70% of consumers prefer the offline shopping experience and find it more practical to see and feel fashion in real life before making a purchase, and also being able to browse and discover exciting brands, for example at Bikini Berlin. As a result of the contact restrictions and social distancing regulations, we have all suddenly been spending a lot more time in our own neighbourhoods: on our daily strolls we have noticed local stores that we want to support – and who urgently need our support. We, and our purchasing decisions, play a role in which stores will remain open and what our neighbourhoods will look like in the future, an awareness that I only really developed since the outbreak of the coronavirus.
The coronavirus can – and will – be a catalyst for already existing trends and purchasing decision factors like locality, transparency and sustainability. With all this spare time on their hands, a lot of people have been able to reflect on their actions and consumer behaviour and have been able to identify their local neighbourhood and nature as essential feel-good factors in their lives.
We have all been made aware of the importance of joining forces against an external threat. Our actions really do matter. Every single individual decision we make could lead to a catastrophe or to us (and the planet) getting off lightly. Let’s hope that these insights are also reflected in the way we consume fashion in the long term...
©Blogger Bazaar. Image 1: kimono by IND Berlin, shoes by Premiata; Image 2: Dress and hat by LNFA, shoes by Premiata; Image 3: Suit and bag by Labo.Art, shoes by Market Lifestore, t-shirt from Blogger Bazaar